News

Mark Your Calendars!

Sevier County Man Faces Trial for Deputy's Panic Attack

In the first case of its kind in Tennessee, a Sevier County man will stand trial Wednesday on charges he caused a deputy’s panic attack, Knoxnews reports. Brian Mullinax was unarmed and facedown on the ground several yards from the law enforcement officer during an incident in December 2016, for which he now faces assault charges. The officer, former Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Justin M. Johnson, fired his gun in Mullinax's neighborhood minutes before the panic attack allegedly occurred. Johnson was forced to resign earlier this year after an investigation uncovered the details of his past firing from a police agency for fanning his gun over the head of an officer, lying to his chief, hitting his wife and threatening his mistress.
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Ex-Pilot President Denied Christmas Break Before Starting Fraud Sentence

A request from convicted Pilot Flying J former President Mark Hazelwood that he have until after Christmas to begin serving his 12 ½ years in prison for fraud has been denied, Knoxnews reports. "If the court attempted to set (prison) dates that did not conflict with any religious holidays, it would be unable to set any dates at all," U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier said. "Easter, the most important Christian religious holiday, would come just a few short months after Christmas." Hazelwood was convicted in a scheme to rip off small trucking companies of more than $50 million.

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New Videos Available

Need a few CLE hours? Several presentations from this year's Litigation and Appellate Forum are now available online. Take a look at the list below and view one today!

New E-Filing Process and its Impact on Tennessee Rules - Jim Hivner, Clerk of the Tennessee Supreme Court, will discuss the new E-filing process in the Appellate courts and its impact on Tennessee rules.

Open Courts - Judge Brandon Gibson discuss the importance of openness and transparency in the court system and the presumption of openness of government records. 

Oral Argument Preparation Panel - This panel discusses perfecting your appeal before the trial even ends. You will hear about tips and techniques used by some of the most experienced trial lawyers in Tennessee.

Perspectives from the Bench - This presentation will help you the next time you appear in Federal court.

Taking and Defending Effective Depositions - In this presentation you will learn the techniques to successfully take or defend a deposition to your greatest advantage.

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Lawsuit Claims Knox Commissioner Abused Special Needs Student

A lawsuit filed just before the school year claims that Knox County Commissioner Evelyn Gill physically and psychologically abused a student with special needs in 2017, Knoxnews reports. The student’s parents are suing Gill, Knox County, the Knox County Board of Education, Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas and the South-Doyle Middle School Principal Andrew Brown. An attorney representing the family said each party has "agreed to stay the proceedings pending a mediation to explore a resolution of all claims."
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7 New Job Postings for October on TBA JobLink

New job postings have been added to TBA’s employment portal. Postings include Consumer Law, Disability Rights, Environmental Law, Litigation and Associate positions. JobLink helps Tennessee legal employers post jobs and TBA members connect with job opportunities.
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Federal Court Issues Injunction Against Tennessee Drugmaker

On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court judge issued a consent decree of permanent injunction against Tennessee over-the-counter drugmaker Keystone Laboratories barring the company from manufacturing or distributing drugs until it complies with the requirements in the decree, Regulatory Focus reports. The injunction comes after the Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, filed a complaint against the company and its owner and operator in September. According to the complaint, Keystone violated the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by distributing over-the-counter drug products that were not manufactured in accordance with current good manufacturing practices and in some cases did not have adequate labeling. The company has agreed to be bound by the consent decree.
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Basic Tech Checklist for Firms

Law firms attempting to stay competitive and state-of-the-art need to consistently evaluate their use of technology. In addition to staying competitive, technological competency is required. In 2017, the Tennessee Supreme Court amended Rule 8 of the Rules of Professional Responsibility to include this obligation. Above the Law presents a simple and straightforward tech checklist for law firms or lawyers seeking guidance in this area.   

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This Friday: Environmental Law Forum 2019

This year’s Environmental Law Forum will be held Friday, Feb. 1 at the Tennessee Bar Center. Topics for the forum will include language updates and revisions to the Brownfield Voluntary Agreement, developments in Tennessee water law — including 2018 amendments to the Water Quality Control Act, the October 2018 amendments to water quality standards and Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit (ARAP) rules — and emerging contaminants. In this year's ethics seminar, we will explore competence, diligence and communication with clients as specifically related to the practice. Do not miss this opportunity to learn from seasoned practitioners while networking with top players in the field.

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BPR Seeking Disciplinary Counsel

The Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility is seeking an attorney for the position of Disciplinary Counsel - Litigation Section, Appeals. The duties and responsibilities include: investigate and conduct discovery related to complaints of attorney misconduct; prepare pleadings and appear in disciplinary hearings before hearing panels; represent the board in appellate proceedings before special judges in trial courts and before the Tennessee Supreme Court; prepare and present continuing legal education; and other duties as assigned. Applicants must be licensed in Tennessee and have a minimum of seven years experience in the practice of law and practice before the Tennessee Supreme Court is preferred. Read more about the position on TBA's JobLink portal.
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Court: Funeral Homes Not Responsible for Mishandled Bodies

A Shelby County Chancery Court ruled in a class action lawsuit that funeral directors were not at fault for the mishandling of bodies at Galilee Memorial Gardens, and that the cemetery itself was 99 percent responsible for what happened, The Commercial Appeal reports. More than 1,200 plaintiffs, whose loved ones were buried in caskets one atop the other, took part in the suit. Cemetery owner Jemar Lambert in 2015 pleaded guilty to criminal charges, including charges of burying bodies on land the cemetery did not own.
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Walmart Changing Legal Operations

The Corporate Counsel blog takes a look at changes in Walmart's legal operations. At the recent annual Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Symposium in Philadelphia, Alan Bryan, senior associate general counsel for Walmart Inc. discussed Walmart’s new cost cutting measures. Walmart has entered into partnership with LegalMation and is using software to take complaints filed against the company, generally in tort and general litigation matters, then feeding them into the system. Within two minutes, the system kicks out an answer, a first set of interrogatories and a first set of requests for production. “We’ve found that it is saving 60 to 70 percent of the time that would normally take to review a complaint,” Bryan explained. 

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State Farm to Pay $250 Million for Secretly Funding Illinois Supreme Court Campaign

State Farm has agreed to pay $250 million to settle a class action claiming the insurer created a RICO enterprise to secretly fund the election of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who later voted to overturn a $1.05 billion verdict against the Illinois-based company, The Associated Press reports. The class-action lawsuit sought nearly $10 billion from State Farm in a trial that was scheduled to begin Tuesday. The allegations center around the 2005 case of Avery v. State Farm, Karmeier cast the deciding vote to reverse a $1.06 billion judgment in 1999 against State Farm for its use of aftermarket car parts in repairs. 
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Lawsuit: Nashville Surgeon Left Needle Inside Patient, Couldn’t Remove It

The family of a now-deceased man is suing TriStar Centennial hospital, claiming a surgeon left a needle inside his body and was unable to retrieve it in a second operation, The Tennessean reports. The man died a month after the surgery, with his health deteriorating after the needle was lost in his body. The lawsuit alleges that the man suffered in his final month and describes his death as “painful, unnecessary and wrongful.”
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New Job Postings on TBA JobLink

New job postings have been added to TBA’s employment portal. Positions include general and senior counsel, practice area experts and associate. JobLink helps Tennessee legal employers post jobs and TBA members connect with career opportunities.
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Section Seeks Your Opinions on Upcoming Law Office Technology Forum

To help build programming for its upcoming Law Tech Forum, the TBA Law Office Technology and Management Executive Council is asking your opinions. Completing this brief web form will assist in ensuring the forum remains timely, relevant and on the cutting edge. Comments can be related to subject matter, length and location of the event. Please respond by Sept. 7. 

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Judge Overturns $19 Million Award to Nashville-based Company

A Nashville-based physician services company will not receive $19 million in damages from a rival company after a Tennessee Court of Appeals judge overturned a 2016 ruling, The Nashville Post reports. Nashville's SpecialtyCare sued Pennsylvania-based Medsurant in 2015 over Medsurant's alleged interference in SpecialtyCare's takeover of a smaller company. Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy cited Medsurant repeatedly for not cooperating in the discovery process, and eventually ruled against them on the basis of intentionally destroying evidence to avoid liability. Medsurant's attorneys - Brant Phillips, Russell Stair and Matt Sinback of Bass Berry & Sims; Bob Mendes of Waypoint Law and Richard Simins of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads - appealed, arguing that the chancellor had made numerous mistakes, the punitive damages were excessive and their clients had overall not received a fair hearing. Judge Kenny Armstrong agreed. "From the totality of the circumstances, we conclude that the grant of default judgment as a sanction for discovery abuses was error," Armstrong wrote.

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Put TBA UPS to Work

Have you enrolled in TBA’s UPS account for members? Visit UPS's TBA page and save up to 34 percent on UPS’s broad portfolio. Shipping services include next day air, international, ground and express.
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Law Office Management Tips on Shipping

If your law office uses shipping services, your TBA membership team can help you compare those costs to TBA’s UPS member benefit. Your firm office manager can work directly with TBA staff and UPS services to enroll or transfer shipping accounts. Members can save up to 34 percent on UPS’s broad portfolio of shipping services, including next day air, international, ground and express.
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Toys ‘R’ Us Settlement Approved by Court

Toys “R” Us Inc. has come to a compromise with lenders and creditors it’s bankruptcy filing. Marketwatch reports that the settlement will pay 22 cents on the dollar to creditors. It will also shield lenders from future litigation. In March the retail chain abandon its plan to survive bankruptcy after lower than expected holiday sales.

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Article Examines Difficulties Faced by Female Trial Lawyers

Is it harder to be a trial lawyer if you are a woman? The Atlantic took a look into the question, examining personal stories, history and statistics about gender in the legal profession. One suggested cause for the difficulties faced by female lawyers was the lack of women in positions of power in the courtroom: women currently make up only 33 percent of federal trial-court judges.
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Tennessee Zipline Company Sued over Outbreak

CLIMB Works, a Gatlinburg ziplining company, is being sued after at least 548 people reported gastrointestinal illness after visiting the zipline tour this summer. The class action lawsuit alleges that the illness came from contaminated well water served out of coolers placed along the zip line course. WCAX reports that the suit is asking for compensatory damages for the members of the class. 

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9th Circuit Ruling Finds a Constitutional Right to Openly Carry a Gun

A panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Second Amendment protects the right to openly carry a gun for self-defense outside of the home, the ABA Journal reports. The opinion said the Second Amendment’s right to bear as well as keep arms “implies some level of public carry in case of confrontation.”

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Destination CLE Survey

Let's take a trip! The TBA CLE Committee would like your feedback on destination CLE events. Taking a moment to complete this brief survey will greatly assist us in developing the best CLE experience for you. Please complete this survey by Aug. 10. We greatly appreciate your help with this endeavor.
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Class Action Suit Filed against VW

Jonathan Manlove, a 60-year-old former employee at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen. He alleges that the company is using a rebranding effort to discriminate against workers once they turn 50. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Manlove claims that Volkswagen is trying to rebrand itself into a "younger, sleeker company" after it was rocked by an emissions scandal in 2015.
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